Dinner time in the house is my favourite time. We all called it “family dinner” simply because this is the only moment where ALL of the family members are able to gather on a table to enjoy the meal after a busy day of individual routines. Perfect time to engage and interact to one another. Sounds perfect aye! (to me at least)
Until I realised, that this toddler is sitting on the same table at the same time with us. Well, that is another story, isn’t it? Often times dinner would be the most unpleasant time of the day. mayday, mayday, mayday….My body was drained out after full day of babysitting/working, cooking dinner and now grumpy toddler is refusing to open his mouth because the plate looks “greeny”. I mean….Seriously?! It is because I have no blue/red clean plate at the time little fella, so just bare with me and pick that god damn beef sausage, and put it in your mouth. Gah.
Then I got a revelation somehow one day, that I gotta prepare meal which comforts their “eyes” and their “tummy”
- Comforts their eyes – basically, what they see is what they get. If the presentation itself does not satisfy their sight, the wrong information will directly send to the brain commanding them to lock their mouth. Once they’re happy with what they see, they would surely open their mouth and give it a go. Be mindful to make their favourite element stands out on the plate. In my case, noodles, soup, chicken, and meatballs are the thing that J loves the most. So, I put extra effort on that piece and make them as visual as it can be. Hiding veggies is always wise to do, add them to your homemade meatballs mixture. It’s a winner for the whole family. Yeahhh!!
- Comforts their tummy – Next step is making sure that they consume enough nutritions intake to their tummy for the day. Eating together increase healthy eating habits and provides a model for children to carry with them into adulthood. Studies show family dinners increase the intake of fruits and vegetables; families who eat dinner together tend to eat fewer fried foods and drink less soda; and family meal frequency is linked to the intake of protein, calcium, and some vitamins. I am struggling to get my protein son to consume veggies, but after I implement this new family dinner rule for a while, I am glad to report you that he slowly improving his tolerance for veggies. And for this colder season, I am using a lot of in-season produce too, like carrots, orange, citrus, lemon, garlic, ginger (they are powerful to boost your immune system).
- Spend less time on the kitchen – please do not spend too much energy and time on the kitchen (unless for special occasion). 30-45 minutes max would be the ideal time from preparation to presentation. Spend more time to sit down and have a nice conversation with one another. Here are some killer recipes you can do under 30minutes. They are super delicious healthy on low budget.
Ginger Beef Soup With Rice Noodles and Mixed Veggies
250 gr chicken or veal mince
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp grated garlic
1 cup of chopped shallots
4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
3 cups of mixed veggies (carrots, baby bok choy, white cabbage)
90g rice noodles
½ cup of enoki mushroom
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
salt & pepper to taste
How to make:
- To make meatballs, mix all the ingredients to food processor, blend it well.
- Divide into 12 even portions. Squish and roll in your hands into a tight ball (grease your hands for easier process). Set aside for a minute at room temperature is fine.
- Place homemade chicken stock and veggies in a large saucepan and bring into boil over high heat.
- Gently pop in the meatballs. Bring back to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for further 8 minutes.
- Add rice noodles to the soup and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Turn off the heat.
- Season with salt & pepper.
Honey Soy Orange Glazed Chicken with Soba Noodles And Miso Soup
250 gr of chicken thigh
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
1 handful mixed herbs
1 crushed garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
good pinch of salt & pepper
1 navel orange
1 knob of unsalted butter
90 gr soba noodle (gluten free)
miso soup package
How to make:
- Marinate chicken thighs with honey, reduced salt soy sauce, mixed herbs, crushed garlic, grated ginger, salt & pepper. Leave them aside at room temperature.
- Heat up your oven at 210C
- Heat a good knob of butter on the pan, fry the marinated chicken thigh, carrot and oranges on the pan for 3-5 minutes (both sides) at medium heat.
- Transfer the pan to the oven for another 10-12 minutes.
- Cook the soba noodles over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Put miso soup package on a small bowl and pour boiling water onto it.
- Place the roasted chicken, soba noodles and miso soup next to each other.
- Make a fun way to eat the soba noodles (dip it or soup it)
Those two are our family favourites, rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, and all could be done under 45 minutes. Have a try and comment for any feedbacks or suggestions. X